L. C. Martin (ed.), The Poems of Richard Crashaw: English Latin and Greek (Second Edition)

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THE chief purpose of this volume is to provide a reliable account of the text and canon of Richard Crashaw's complete works, and to make it easier than it has hitherto been to appreciate the qualities and follow the development of his mind and art. With it there goes no attempt to guide the reader in the assignment of praise or blame. The more striking merits of Crashaw's poetry have often been described, and his place among the more considerable poets of his time is now so well established as hardly to call for repeated definition here. Neither does it seem necessary any longer to apologize for what used to be censured as his 'faults' of taste and expression. Attempts to read the literature of the seventeenth century in the spirit in which it was written are often more whole-hearted now than they used to be; and with no very violent effort of sympathy and imagination the modern student will be able to understand and enjoy some of the features of Crashaw's art which the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries were wont to deplore. But it is among the requisites of any closer study, such as this volume is intended to facilitate, that the text on which it is based should not only supply the most accurate possible record of what the poet wrote, but by its convenient disposition serve as a mirror to his growing and changing nature as thinker and as artist—in either or in both of which respects previous editions of Crashaw have usually been a good deal to seek.

The circumstances are somewhat peculiar. Crashaw was anything but a prolific writer, even considering his early death, but he was clearly given to revising, recasting, and amplifying such portions of his works as seemed worth the trouble. Between the first, second, and third published volumes of his English poems the differences are often substantial and striking; and it seems obvious that the method generally followed hitherto of crystallizing the text pg viiiinto a single form and leaving its evolution to be gathered from foot-notes is not the most helpful that could be devised.

The plan which has been adopted in the present edition should be clear enough from the textual introduction, but it may be shortly premised here that the two main stages discernible in the text of some of the most important English poems, corresponding to the first edition (Steps to the Temple … With other Delights of the Muses, 1646) and the much altered and extended second edition of the same work (1648) find their counterpart in the present volume in what may be described as corrected reprints, aiming at true texts, of the first edition and of Carmen Deo Nostro, the collection published in Paris in 1652 and consisting almost entirely of 'divine' poems which had been revised for the edition of 1648 or had appeared there for the first time. The Paris edition has been followed for these poems, rather than that of 1648, because although in general it conforms closely to the 1648 text it also contains some new and undoubtedly authentic alterations and additions—one of the finest examples of Crashaw's invention, for example, appearing here for the first time1; and further because the peculiar conditions and features of its production place it among the most interesting and valuable volumes of English poetry published during the seventeenth century. The text of the first edition (1646) has been adopted for poems reprinted in 1648 with little or no alteration, as well as for the early form of poems which in the second edition were much changed, because on the whole, and as often happened in the seventeenth century, the first edition was more carefully and characteristically produced. The poems which in the present volume are printed twice are with hardly any exception poems which had been so much changed between 1646 and 1648 that to print one text only and indicate the variants by means of foot-notes would be to give less than its due prominence to a very important aspect of Crashaw's work; and the method of double pg ixpresentation has the further advantage that it holds the foot-notes within convenient bounds, restricting them very largely to cross-references which may facilitate comparison and to the recording of manuscript variants, which have the usual and strong claim to attention that they seem often to point back to a still earlier stage of composition than that enshrined in the first published edition. The MSS. usually conform most closely to the text of 1646, which has therefore in most instances been taken as the basis of collation.

Between the two sections of the present edition thus corresponding to the editions of 1646 and 1652 will be found the few poems which are peculiar to the edition of 1648. The Latin and Greek epigrams published in 1634 and 1670 precede the poems from the volume of 1646, and after Carmen Deo Nostro are printed certain additional Latin, Greek, and English poems, chiefly from manuscript sources. Of the MSS. the most important are British Museum Add. MSS. 40176 and 33219, and Harleian 6917; and Bodleian MS. Tanner 465, all of which contain material not found elsewhere. From MS. Tanner 465 five poems are now, it is believed, printed for the first time. MS. Harleian 6917 yields the fine Epithalamium, which was not printed or claimed for Crashaw until it appeared in the London Mercury, June 1923, p. 159 sqq.; and the reader's attention is specially drawn to the introductory notes on these MSS.

The attempt has been made to represent accurately each of the original editions on which, successively, the present one is based, preserving their essential features and recording all departures from them in the foot-notes, with the following exceptions:

(1) long 'ſ' and devices like 'õ' for 'om' or 'PREFACE TO FIRST EDITION' for 'que' are abandoned throughout the text;

(2) errors of spacing, wrong founts, and turned letters are corrected silently, these including the frequent use of 'à' for 'a', 'th-' for 'th'' in the Paris edition of 1652. On the other hand, the faults or inconsistencies of accentuation in Latin and Greek verses have not been eradicated.

Seventeenth-century variants of any genuine significance, pg xin printed editions as well as in MSS., are recorded in the foot-notes, together with suggestions of modern editors which have been found interesting or helpful, but not the numerous misprints occurring in the volume of 1648, except where that volume, being the only authority, has been used as the basis of the text; and not, again, manuscript variants merely and obviously due to hasty or ignorant copying. The foot-notes also usually take no account of variant spellings.

'Significant variants', however, are understood to include many instances of variant punctuation, both in printed and in manuscript versions. To record all differences of punctuation whatever would of course unduly encumber the apparatus, but in the unavoidable necessity of making selections consistency has been aimed at, the general rule observed being only to note instances where the variant stop could have had a special emphasizing or explanatory shade of significance for the seventeenth-century reader. Where the foot-notes give no contrary indication it must be assumed that the other printed texts and the MSS. concerned agree or are of similar import, or again (as frequently in the MSS.) that there is no punctuation at all.

It was hoped that it might also be possible to record the variant usage of italics in the printed editions, corresponding to the manuscript convention of writing certain words and phrases in a larger hand for the sake of emphasis. But this again would have tended to overweight the foot-notes and the intention was in general abandoned. In some more striking instances, however, where the printed editions use no italics but a MS. distinguishes a word or a phrase, the circumstance has been recorded. The convention has also been observed in printing the poems for which MSS. are the only authority.

The materials for a biography of Crashaw are a little less exiguous than they were fifty years ago, when Grosart published his edition, and though the reconstruction of details in the poet's experience must remain largely a pg ximatter of conjecture, the new facts and documents which have come to light since Crashaw's life was written for the Dictionary of National Biography are perhaps considerable enough to justify, as a setting for them, a restatement of the more important of those which were earlier available. This edition is the first to include a copy of Crashaw's letter written from Leyden in 1644 and of the Queen's letter introducing him to the Pope in 1646.1

The notes at the end of the volume are intended to supplement the biography, to elucidate obscurity, to supply where necessary evidence of authorship, and to provide illustrative material such as may throw light on the influences which went to make Crashaw's poetry what it was.

It is a pleasure to own my indebtedness and express my gratitude to all those who have assisted me with their information or counsel, and of whom some are mentioned at the relevant points. Other obligations fall to be acknowledged here. The value of the help given by Professor E. Bensly in regard to Crashaw's Latin and Greek verses, and the generosity of the giving, could hardly be overstated. His scholarly tact and wide knowledge of medieval and Renaissance as well as of ancient Latin and Greek have been placed unreservedly at my service and have given me far more confidence than I could otherwise have felt in attempting to define this difficult part of the text. I cannot claim that the result is such as Professor Bensly would have secured himself; I am sure that most of what is good in it is due to him. It is specially gratifying to recall various peculiarities of word or phrase which by classical standards might seem to require emendation, but which have been shown to accord with medieval or later practice and therefore allowed to stand. Professor Bensly has also supplied many Greek and Latin parallels given in the Commentary. Particular thanks are also due to Lord Denbigh, for the loan of his copy of Carmen Deo Nostro, pg xiifor permission to reproduce as a frontispiece the portrait, by Gerbier, of Susan, first Countess of Denbigh, and for other accommodations; to Lady Elizabeth and Lady Victoria Feilding, for kind assistance given at Newnham Paddox; to Mr. J. Burford Leonard, for his loan of the original MS. of the letter by Crashaw of which a reproduction faces p. xxx; to Mr. Geoffrey Keynes, for lending copies of early editions; to Mr. Everard Meynell, for useful bibliographical matter; to Dr. T. Walker, for information relative to Crashaw's life at Peterhouse and for access to the College Records; to Mr. D. Nichol Smith, Professor Garrod, and Professor D. A. Slater, who have seen different portions of the text and made very valuable suggestions for its improvement; to Dr. Mario Praz, for parallels from Marino; to the Librarian of the Santa Casa, the Rev. P. Dalmonte, for the text of the documents at Loreto given in Appendix II; to the officials of the British Museum, Bodleian Library, Cambridge University Library, and the Library of Trinity College, Dublin, for their unfailing kindness and facilitations; and to the Secretary and Staff of the Clarendon Press, for much friendly interest and advice. I have received assistance of various kinds from the Rev. Professor W. Lock, of Christ Church, the Rev. F. E. Hutchinson, Professor H. J. C. Grierson, Mr. R. Flower, Miss E. Cruwys Sharland, Mr. Percy Simpson and Mr. G. Thorn Drury. Special thanks are due to the last-mentioned scholar for his scrutiny of my Introduction, and for the material embodied in several items of the Commentary. I am also greatly indebted to my wife for help in the collation of MSS., and for many other valuable services. For any errors or shortcomings which may be found in this edition I am alone responsible.




1 Lines 93–108 of 'The Flaming Heart' (see p. 326 below).

1 This letter was first printed in full in Secentismo e Marinismo in Inghilterra (1925) by Dr. Mario Praz, who obtained this and other material from the present editor.

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